The James Street Food and Wine Trail is back for 2017. From tonight, bars and eateries up and down the Fortitude Valley high street will give themselves over to a series of events, tastings and masterclasses.
The four-day event culminates in the market day on Sunday, which each year closes off James Street between McLachlan and Robertson Streets. More than 25 stalls will move in to peddle restaurant-quality market food.
This year, though, the trail goes international; organisers are welcoming Japan’s internationally acclaimed Bar Gyu+ (aka “The Fridge Door”) for two special collaborations. Melbourne’s venue of the moment Embla will also make an appearance, taking part in a “hat swap” at Gerard’s Bistro.
They join a host of usual suspects, including Bucci, Harvey’s, Scrumptious Reads, James Street Cooking School and King Arthur Cafe.
Here’s what to check out this year.
Harvey’s Meets Bar Gyu+
Harvey’s Bar and Bistro owner and chef PJ McMillan is joining forces with Bar Gyu+’s Ioanna Morelli on Thursday night to create a Japanese-inspired degustation dinner, with meals matched to both sake and wine. Bar Gyu+ is frequently listed as one of the best après ski bars in the world on account of its bartenders’ expertise in specialty sake and rare Japanese whisky. In short, they know their stuff. Tickets include canapés on arrival, followed by five courses.
Gerard’s Bistro / Embla Hat Swap
Also on Thursday night, Gerard Bistro’s Ben Williamson is collaborating with Dave Verheul, head chef of Melbourne venue of the moment, Embla, to create a five-course dinner, matched with wines. There are two sittings, the first at 5.30pm, the second at 8pm. Tickets are essential.
Bucci Vacation Series
James Street Italian favourite Bucci has created a vacation-series menu exclusively for the James Street Food and Wine Trail. Available at lunch until Sunday, the menu can be approached as one, two or three courses and features traditional dishes from the Italian region of Lombardy and its capital, Milan, in particular.
Bar Gyu+ x Maker Pop-Up
The second event involving Japan’s Bar Gyu+. This time the acclaimed Japanese bolthole is teaming up with Brisbane favourite Maker for an evening of rare Japanese whisky tastings. This will be a unique opportunity to sample whiskies from Japan’s lost distilleries – many of the rare bottles have never been seen in Australia before. There are four sittings on Friday night at 6.30pm, 8pm, 9.30pm and 11pm.
Five-Course Dinner at King Arthur Cafe
King Arthur Cafe has been opening for dinner on Friday nights for a couple of months now, re-tuning its flair for innovative breakfasts for the night-time crowd. On Saturday night, it’s taking things to a new level, hosting a five-course dinner with matched wine packages also available. Dinner is $90 per person; dinner and wine $135 per person.
ILVE Pop-Up Kitchen Classes
What it says on the box. A bunch of cooking classes from a some of James Street’s best chefs, including Gerard’s Ben Williamson, Bucci’s Shaun Malone and Danielle Dixon and James Street Cooking School’s John Meredith. From 10am to 3pm on Sunday.
The James Street Food and Wine Trail runs from July 27 to 30 at James Street precinct in Fortitude Valley.